BRADENTON, Fla. - Jake Fox is out of control.
Fox homered for the second time today, and the seventh time this spring. It was another two-run shot that easily cleared the left field fence. Contact was so loud, he made heads turn all the way down in Fort Lauderdale.
Matt Wieters has three hits, including two doubles. He reached second base in the top of the seventh and trotted home on Fox’s blast.
Update: Wieters just reached on an infield single, his fourth hit of the game.
Fox leads all hitters in spring training home runs. He began the day in a four-way tie.
Brandon Snyder’s RBI single padded the Orioles’ lead in the seventh.
Orioles 9, Pirates 3.
Jeremy Accardo gave up his first two spring runs after 7 2/3 scoreless. The second run was unearned after Fox was called for catcher’s interference.
Chris Tillman became the latest Orioles pitcher to notice that the bullpen mound is about two feet taller than the stadium mound. He had trouble making the adjustment today.
“I felt OK,” he said. “I felt like I was battling myself the whole time to keep the ball down. Going from this mound to that one is a big difference. Overall, I was pretty happy with what happened. I think it was really, really poor execution, with the pitcher in the lineup, that eight hole. Other than that, I felt pretty good.”
Asked if he’s satisfied with his progression this spring, Tillman replied, “Absolutely, especially with the way we’ve been working on things. We’ve been working on something new every time. I think this time was more of a rhythm thing for me. I felt good, but it felt different. The mounds are so drastically different out here. I was just fighting myself to get the ball down the whole time. Other than fighting myself, I felt pretty good.”
Tillman is competing for the fifth starter’s job and trying not to obsess over it.
“I try to force myself not to, because I know I have to go out there and just do my thing and try to get better in between starts - every day, really, and progress,” he said. “Rick (Adair) and Mark (Connor) keep pounding in our heads it’s a progression here. If you don’t see results right away, they want to see them throughout the spring and throughout the year, and they’ve been drilling that into our heads since Day One. I’m looking more toward the long run than anything. But I am happy with my progress so far.”
Tillman deserves credit for covering third base and applying the tag on the rundown that ended the first inning.
“It was really confusing out there,” Tillman said. “It was kind of a circus. We couldn’t really hear the umpires and I didn’t what was going on. (Josh) Bell actually thought it was ball four when the ump said strike three, so he wasn’t expecting a runner there, and then I told him it was strike three and got the guy in the rundown. And when he slid into second base, he thought it was ball four. There was a little bit of confusion out there today.”